Losing a job isn’t fun under any circumstance, but it used to be made all the more stressful by the loss of health insurance that went with it. Now, thanks to Obamacare and Washington State’s relatively easy to use health insurance exchange, the newly unemployed have one less thing to fret over.
Logging in to WAHealthPlanFinder.org this morning, it took me about a half hour to complete my application, compare plans, and sign up. I chose a “silver” plan from Group Health with a $200 deductible for only $92 a month after a $300 a month federal subsidy (based on my current meager income from unemployment). And I could’ve done it quicker if not for some repeated glitches in the Safari browser. Once I switched to Firefox, everything went smoothly.
The downside with switching to Group Health is that I can’t keep my current primary care physician, but that was likely true of The Stranger’s insurance too, as my doctor recently switched his practice from Polyclinic to Swedish. The exchange reported that my doctor would’ve been covered under a $168/month plan from Community Health Plan, but my doctor’s office couldn’t confirm that. On the cheap side, I could’ve alternatively purchased a $42/month plan from Coordinated Care, but their HMO offered far fewer providers, so I split the difference and went with the larger and more established Group Health, which also conveniently has a clinic down the street.
By comparison it would’ve cost me $329/month via COBRA to continue on my less comprehensive Stranger insurance. So Obamacare will end up saving me quite a bundle.
As long as I’m unemployed, that is. Should I get a decent paying job relatively soon, I’ll probably have to pay back some of this subsidy on my 2014 tax return. But that’s okay; I’ll be able to afford it. Whereas right now I’m operating under a very tight budget.
So, thanks, President Obama, for easing my job transition with some affordable health insurance. And thank you, WAHealthPlanFinder.org, for putting together such a relatively well designed website. While I would have obviously preferred a single payer system that wouldn’t require me to change my health insurance every time I change employment, this is a helluva lot better than the individual market that used to ream people like me.